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For decades we have touted the use of fish oil for cardiovascular health. While a beneficial source of omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients, fish oil sadly poses some issues for vegetarian consumers or those concerned with the environmental impact of fish farms. Fortunately, there is a better way to fuel our bodies with healthy fats: algae oil.
Scientists have found that algae also has a host of health benefits, and may even be a better resource than fish oil. In fact, most of the omega-3 fatty acids abundant in our fish sources is due to their high diet of marine algae. With algae oil, we can return to the source.
Algae grows abundantly in our oceans, using photosynthesis to thrive. They may be simple, single-celled organisms, but algae have a lot of potential. It is in their unique ability to store energy in such an efficient, prolific, and sustainable biomass that makes algae such a hot topic in both the health care field, and energy production at large.
It is no surprise that researchers and developers are turning to algae for our food, fuel, and health needs. Algae is readily available at sea and does not require any interference with current agriculture productions. Algae growth even improves our air and water quality; algae consume harmful CO2 gasses and release oxygen while also purifying waste waters. These powerhouses are also dense in micronutrients, making them incredibly useful in the health and nutrition world.
Algae oil has similar benefits for heart health as fish oil, but without many of the accompanying issues (such as overfishing). When it comes to protecting our cardiovascular system, algae oil has shown to regulate heart rate, lower blood pressure, prevent blood clot formation, and reduce inflammation overall. This is due to algae’s rich supply of fatty acids like DHA. A 2012 study from the Journal of Nutrition found a substantial decrease in triglyceride levels with daily supplementation of algae oil and concluded that supplementing with algae oil may be a helpful preventative measure against heart disease. The omega-3 fatty acids present in algae oil protect the cardiovascular system from the build-up of more dangerous fats (omega-6 and trans fatty acids) that lead to heart disease.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for healthy development, with DHA being one of the best sources. Fortunately, algae oil is rich in DHA and safe for use in pregnancy. This helpful fatty acid encourages proper brain and nervous system development in the growing child, as well as improved memory, vision, and verbal intelligence. The brain requires healthy fats, like the DHA present in algae oil, to create the myelin sheath that wraps the neurons. Without a healthy myelin coating, neurons will fail to properly communicate and neurological disorders can develop. Algae oil’s rich supply in DHA helps to supplement any lacking essential fatty acids during pregnancy. The prevalence of DHA during this critical time is particularly important for healthy cognitive skills and development.
The omega-3 fatty acids present in algae oil not only help babies to develop good eyesight in utero, but are needed throughout life to protect vision and prevent eye disorders such as macular degeneration. It is no surprise that DHA has such an importance in eye health when the greatest amount of stored DHA in the body is found in the retina itself. Studies have shown a strong correlation between low DHA in utero and poor eye health. Older individuals can supplement with DHA-rich algae oil to improve their eye health and reduce the effects of macular degeneration.
Algae is rich in marine minerals like iodine, magnesium, potassium, and calcium – all essential factors for a healthy thyroid. These minerals work together to maintain a healthy and functional balance of thyroid hormone in the blood. Like other seaweeds, algae is a beneficial source of these nutrients and supports and healthy hormone balance.
EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid)
Omega-3 fatty acids are well-known to be one of the most essential nutrients for good health. As fatty acids, they work to encourage healthy brain development and function, cardiovascular vitality, and generally reduce harmful inflammation.
EPA, or eicosapentaenoic acid, is a marine-derived fatty acid available from fish or algae oil. It can be difficult to get the required amount of EPA and other fatty acids through diet, which leave supplementation as one of the best methods to obtain the proper amounts of omega-3s. Studies have shown that diets low in EPA and other healthy fatty acids are linked to increased inflammation, poor fetal development, poor cardiovascular health, and an increased risk of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s.
As a pregnant mother, it can be difficult to get all the necessary nutrients needed to support you and your baby’s development. EPA and DHA have proven to be essential in the neural development of babies, but achieving the necessary dosage of 300-900 mg per day through diet can be difficult. Supplementing has been the most effective option for many mothers to help to encourage a healthy and thriving pregnancy. While EPA is necessary for general well-rounded fetal development, this fatty acids is specifically necessary brain and eye health, and proper supplementation leads to better cognitive skills, hand-eye coordination, and visual acuity. In studies conducted on the use of an EPA and DHA supplement during pregnancy, babies born to mothers who did supplement showed better hand-eye coordination, as well as problem-solving skills than both control and placebo groups.
Healthy fats are necessary for a healthy cardiovascular system. Without the protective function of omega-3’s like EPA and DHA, inflammation and oxidative stress wrecks havoc on our bodies and the likelihood of atherosclerosis, sudden cardiac death, and other cardiovascular events increases substantially. With these issues behind over 38% of American deaths per year, cardiovascular health is key for longevity and overall wellness. EPA is one of the most important omega-3 fatty acids and boasts incredible protective qualities for the cardiovascular system. Supplementing with EPA and DHA has shown to decrease the expression of certain genes that lead to increased inflammatory responses and atherogenesis pathways. Over time, this leads to a lower likelihood of cardiac events and cardiovascular disease in general.
EPA and omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain health. This can be an important area of focus for those who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive disorders. In general, EPA helps to improve memory and protect the brain. Cellular inflammation, along with other issues, leads to the dysfunction of nervous tissue and is seen as a potential cause of diseases like Alzheimer's. Because fatty acids like EPA and DHA reduce inflammation and support the integrity of the fatty phospholipid membrane of neurons, they are considered to be effective in preventing this inflammation and improving the overall health of the nervous system. The integrity of this phospholipid membrane is also required for transmission of information between neurons. Evidence also points to the the potential for EPA to reduce the characteristic amyloid plaques present in Alzheimer’s disease. The use of omega-3 fatty acids to treat advanced Alzheimer's is a popular topic in research circles, but supplementing with EPA and DHA early in life is a strong preventative measure.
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid with similar properties to EPA. Often, these two are found and used together to help support healthy development in both infants and adults. DHA is a vital nutrient and building-block for many of the body’s systems. These fatty acids are found readily in cold-water fish like salmon and tuna, but are plentiful in algae and other resources.
Throughout history, cultures who have embraced a diet rich in omega 3s have benefited with low levels of heart disease, neurological disease, and a propensity to healthy aging. For instance, the Japanese diet has long been studied by cardiovascular researchers to understand the low rate of heart disease and naturally low levels of blood pressure. The common thread seems to be high levels of cold-water fish and a diet that is naturally rich in omega-3s.
With ongoing research revealing the many benefits of DHA for overall health, there is little question about this nutrient’s significance from the womb to adulthood.
In a developing infant, DHA is required to create a healthy nervous system. The brain requires DHA – and sometimes prefers it to other fatty acids – to develop many regions of the brain. In fact, DHA is found most prevalently in the membrane-rich grey matter of the brain. It is here that information is processed and nutrients and energy are transported throughout the brain. With a lack of DHA, the grey matter becomes insufficient and learning issues arise.
Supplementing during pregnancy can be one of the most important ways to support your baby’s brain development. DHA, like other fatty acids, is absorbed from the mother’s diet. Adequate DHA can support a strong learning ability in babies, leading to better cognitive skills as children and adults. In studies, children who showed a lack of DHA presented with higher rates of ADHD, depression and mood disorders, hostility, cystic fibrosis, and other disorders.
Our vision relies heavily upon adequate supplies of healthy fats, especially DHA. Our retinas are the most DHA-rich area of the body and need sufficient amounts to maintain full function. DHA is thought to help improve vision by enhancing our photoreceptors membranes and the integrity of our retinas. It can prevent early deterioration of the retina as we age, acting as a protecting agent.
Developing infants need plentiful amounts of DHA to fully develop their retinas and maintain healthy vision as they age.
Like other omega-3 fatty acids, DHA is helpful in preventing heart disease and promoting a healthy cardiovascular system. Fatty acids are necessary to help reduce inflammation, improve triglyceride levels, and prevent atherosclerosis. DHA specifically helps to prevent thrombosis (blood clots) and reduces the inflammation that leads to the deterioration of our arteries. DHA has also been shown to help improve the tissues lining the heart and blood vessels by releasing harmful nitric oxide from the endothelial cells. Along with lowering blood pressure, DHA maintains a healthy triglyceride balance reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
DHA has shown the ability to halt the growth of some tumors by acting as a cytotoxic agent. This helps to change and slow the progression of cancer and allow for further treatment. While the use of DHA in cancer management and prevention is exciting, it is still an ongoing area of research. Nevertheless, DHA has proved to be a promising component of a healthy, protective diet.
DPA (docosapentaenoic acid)
While DPA has garnered less press than EPA or DHA, it is just as important in human development. Interestingly, DPA is a key ingredient in breast milk and has similar uses to EPA and DHA. Researchers are currently working to understand more about the health potentials of DPA.
Like other omega-3 fatty acids, DPA helps to reduce harmful inflammation in the body. This affects many different systems, but can be especially beneficial for heart disease, arthritis, asthma, and other health concerns aggravated by inflammation.
DPA is one of the lesser-known essential fatty acids, but its role in human development is likely substantial. The reason for this lies in the nature of our human development. In foods like fish, DPA occurs in smaller amounts than other fatty acids like DHA and EPA. However, babies will absorb the same amount of DPA as DHA in mother’s breast milk, implying that this particular acid is vital for developing babies. The exact reasons for this increased need for DPA during early development are still being understood, but it likely helps to improve the function and development of the nervous system. Like DHA, much of it’s benefits are focused on the ever-important neural system.
Astaxanthin is an powerful antioxidant that is found in marine life and is part of the carotenoid family (along with beta-carotene and lutein). It is actually astaxanthin that gives certain fish like krill, lobster, or salmon their orange or reddish hues. Astanxanthin can also be found in microalgae and is believed to be one of the most potent and interesting antioxidants around.
Antioxidants are well-known to reduce inflammation in the body. Astaxanthin is no exception. It seems that astaxanthin has the best success in reducing inflammation caused by harmful UV exposure. This can be particularly helpful when regulating the inflammation that exacerbates skin issues like psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.
Astaxanthin has shown to improve the strength of the immune system, namely by increasing natural killer (NK) cell activity. The NK cells are the surveillance system of the body, they work to seek out harmful substances, viruses, growths and eliminate them – protecting the body against damage and disease. Astaxanthin helps to keep these cells active and in defense mode, which in turn helps to keep our immune system strong and responsive. Over time, this can lead to significant benefits such as tumor prevention.
Further research is showing that astaxanthin has an important role in dermatology. As an antioxidant, astaxanthin provides anti-aging assistance for the skin, while also combatting harmful inflammation. Oral and topical use of astaxanthin showed to be helpful in improving the skin’s elasticity, texture, moisture, and reducing wrinkles in a study conducted over eight weeks. Astanxanthin is know considered useful in preventing wrinkle formation, discoloration, changes in texture, and enhance youthfulness.
Inflammation can be responsible for a wide range of dermatological disorders such as psoriasis, acne, rosacea, and others. Astaxanthin helps to improves these conditions by reducing this inflammation. In addition, astanxanthin may prevent skin damage or cancers from sun exposure due to it’s photo-protective properties that block the negative effects of harmful rays.
As mentioned above, astaxanthin can help to prevent skin cancers and tumor formation. This potential is more than skin deep, however. Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant and as such can be useful to prevent and mediate cancer throughout the body. A promising study was completed in 2018 that tested the effects of astaxanthin on breast cancer proliferation in vitro. The study found that astanxanthin had a significant effect in reducing the cancer cell growth and migration into healthy tissue. These findings offer great hope and more opportunities for research on this potent antioxidant.
Ubiquinone, or CoQ10, is known for its ability to prevent aging and repair damage in the body. This can be a wide-spread benefit, affecting the body as a whole, or used in specific ways, such as when targeting fertility.
Much of Ubiquinone’s ability to affect the diverse signs of aging stem from its mitochondrial link. Ubiquinone was discovered in 1940, then isolated from the mitochondria of beef heart cells several years later. One of it’s most important roles is in the synthesis of the energy-molecule, ATP. All of our cells rely on readily available ATP to function properly. For this reason, ubiquinone and the mitochondria are currently being studied to better understand longevity, agelessness, and prevention.
Ubiquinone is a powerful antioxidant that supports the entire body. Deficits in ubiquinone are suspected to lead to quicker onset of degenerative diseases, diabetes, heart disease, and general aging. Much of ubiquinone’s power comes from its ability to halt the production of free radicals and thereby slowing damage to our cells, tissues, and larger systems. The benefits of this antioxidant effect are far reaching, not only for health, but for longevity.
Ubiquinone is an essential ingredient when enhancing fertility for both men and women. As we age, our natural stores of ubiquinone diminish. When struggling with fertility, even in healthy individuals, ubiquinone may be a simple answer. Supplementing with this antioxidant can help to improve the quality of semen and health of sperm cells. Low levels of ubiquinone in men are correlated with poor quality or mutated sperm, yet three to six months of supplementation have shown to improve count, morphology, and motility. Ubiquinone has a similar effect in women, repairing damage to the egg stores, improving egg quality, and preparing healthier embryos and healthier babies.
Ubiquinone is revered as an anti-aging supplement. Researchers have found that it can reduce simple signs of aging, such as wrinkles, or more substantial signs like degenerative diseases. Much of it’s power to prevent these signs of aging is thought to come from its ability to support mitochondrial health. Mitochondrial health is the key to healthy aging, and Ubiquinone is crucial in this arena. Ubiquinone helps to encourage mitochondrial biogenesis, while also preventing their deterioration and preventing aging.
SUGGESTIONS FOR USE: Take 1-3 droppers full(each dropper fills up 50-75%), under the tongue 1-3 times per day, or as recommended by your health care professional or personally desired. Hold under your tongue for 15 seconds before swallowing, apply topically, or add to food and or drink. 120 droppers per bottle. Effects are more noticeable on an empty stomach. Great to use daily to keep the heart and eyes functioning optimally, skin healthy, and before events requiring high cognitive functioning.